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December 21, 2008 

Former Willbros Officials Charged With Violating FCPA

The Justice Department announced on Friday that a former executive and a consultant of Willbros International Inc. (WII), a subsidiary of Houston-based Willbros Group Inc., have been charged in connection with a conspiracy to pay more than $6 million in bribes to government officials in Nigeria and Ecuador.

James K. Tillery, a former executive of WII, and Paul G. Novak, a former consultant to WII, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA, two counts of violating the FCPA in connection with the authorization of corrupt payments to officials in Nigeria and Ecuador, and one count of conspiring to launder the bribe payments through purported consulting companies controlled by Novak.

Novak was arrested in Houston upon arrival on a flight from South Africa after his passport was revoked. Tillery remains at large.

If convicted of all charges, Tillery and Novak each face sentences of up to 35 years in prison and fines of $250,000, or twice the gain or loss from the offense, whichever is greater, for conspiring to violate the FCPA and for each violation of the FCPA; and $500,000 or twice the value of the funds involved in the transfer, whichever is greater, for the money laundering conspiracy.

In May of this year, Willbros and WII entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Justice Department and agreed to pay a $22 million criminal penalty in connection with corrupt payments to Nigerian and Ecuadorian government officials in violation of the FCPA.

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